Stocksbridge PS 0 Belper Town 0
What a great advert for Bet Victor NPL football it was last night under the lights at the Look Local Stadium, with both teams showing terrific desire and determination not to give an inch, not to lose a tackle nor challenge in a compelling and competitive encounter.
Of course it was a key fixture in the grand scheme of things, as both sides look to cement a play off spot and no surprise really that the game ended without a goal.
Certainly for the football purists amongst us the game did lack quality in the last third at both ends of the pitch. but huge credit goes to organised, disciplined and hard working players from both sides who nullified their opponent front to back.
A scuffed close range effort from Luke Mangham was smothered by the Belper keeper and then Jacob Carney, the home GK mis-controlled a back pass, thankfully, the ball brushed the outside of the post. Phew! It could easily have been 1 – 1 after 15 minutes.
It was nip and tuck from both teams, Scott Ruthven saw the goalkeeper save in a one v one situation and Lewis Whitham shot over from a tight angle. Belper looked capable of getting something on the break and from set plays certainly, but the home defence were both resolute and strong dealing with each threat as it occurred.
SPS edged the first 20 minutes or so of the second half and were unlucky not to go in front when Ruthven headed over and then Josh Nodders in-swinging corner was so very nearly met by the onrushing Mangham at the far stick.
The game became a midfield battle during a hectic 15 minute spell after the hour mark, where each side had good opportunities from dead ball kicks, numerous petty fouls were conceded, but generally hopeful balls into the box wasn’t the answer. A spark was needed from somewhere to liven up a lull in proceedings and Whitham looked as though he may well be that spark as he tried valiantly to create in the last third, but he was expertly marshalled by the away defenders, just couldn’t find that half a yard.
A draw was a fair reflection of the game, although some may say SPS edged it overall. Credit to the managers, coaches and players for providing a proficient and polished game plan... even though no goals were scored!.
Full Time: SPS 0 – 0 Belper Town FC